Pumpkin Ice Cream, Jeni Style

Creamy and flavorful, Pumpkin Ice Cream is a tasty fall dessert of snack with a little extra nutrition thrown in!

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Pumpkin Ice Cream is one of my favorite fall treats!  Usually I head to Baskin Robbins, but sometimes I make my own.  

I love the idea of controlling the ingredients in homemade ice cream.  Organic cream, real pumpkin, NO carrageenan.  And how many desserts have good dose of vitamin A?  

I start eating pumpkin ice cream in September and don’t quit until Thanksgiving!  Yes, it’s a good thing that it’s (relatively) healthy! 
Pumpkin Ice Cream

What is the biggest homemade ice cream challenge? 

Anyone who’s eaten homemade ice cream probably knows what I’m about to say.  It’s that fact that homemade ice cream is amazing when scooped right out of the machine.  But put the leftovers in the freezer and the next day, they end up rock hard and icy.  Not fun.

That’s because ice cream relies on a mysterious proper ratio of fats to liquids to thickeners.   

And here’s where the theory behind Jeni Britton Bauer’s ice cream comes in.  Besides providing complete tested recipes, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home discusses how to keep homemade ice cream from getting too hard and too full of ice crystals.  It’s what I based this ice cream on!

Yes, a godsend for picky ice cream addicts.

Pumpkin Ice Cream - done!

Why You’ll Love This!

Tasty.  Combine the great flavors of pumpkin (with spice) and ice cream and you have a perfect fall dessert!

Ingredient Control.  Want to go organic? Avoid corn syrup or carrageenan?  Since you’re in charge it’s all possible.

Healthier.  I love it when I can get (even a little bit of) vegetables or fruit in my dessert!

Pumpkin Ice Cream

What You’ll Need

Ingredient Notes

  • Canned pumpkin puree.  This provides the pumpkin flavor.
  • Brown sugar.  This adds sweetness.
  • Light corn syrup or golden syrup.  This adds sweetness and helps prevent crystalization.
  • Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg.  This adds pumpkin spice flavor.
  • Skim milk, cream.  These are the main ice cream base ingredients.
  • Salt.  Enhances flavor.
  • Sugar.  This adds sweetness.
  • Cornstarch.  This helps thicken and reduce iciness.
  • Cream cheese.  This helps thicken and reduce iciness.
  • Dark rum (optional).  This adds flavor and helps the ice cream stay softer.

Special Tools

  •  Ice Cream Freezer.  To freeze the ice cream. 

Step by Step Directions

Prepare cornstarch slurry.  Whisk cream cheese.

mix cornsstarch and milk

Prepare Pumpkin Mixture. Combine and cook pumpkin, brown sugar, corn syrup and spices.

Prepare pumpkin mix

Prepare Ice Cream Base. Combine and cook skim milk, salt, cream sugar and corn syrup.

cook ice creaam base

Stir the pumpkin puree mixture and cornstarch slurry into the ice cream base, then return to heat.

return to heat

Gradually add to the softened cream cheese, whisking to avoid lumping. Mix in rum if using.

add to softened cream cheese

Chill until cool. Freeze according to your machine’s directions.

freeze in ice cream frreezer

Use of Corn Syrup or Golden Syrup

I did make one change from the official Jeni method in that I allow the option to use golden syrup instead of corn syrup.   

Golden syrup is what they usually use in Britain where US cooks use light corn syrup.  It is made from sugar rather than corn but is supposed to have the same beneficial properties in cooking and candy making—things like reducing crystallization.   

I have made this recipe both ways and the final ice creamm was slightly harder with the golden syrup–though this could have been due to other factors.  I used different brands of both canned pumpkin and cream cheese so it wasn’t a controlled test.  But even slightly harder, it was deeliciious (I did leave it out briefly before eating) and I had no problems with ice crystals.

So if you are a GMO avoider, you can go with organic corn syrup (organic standards don’t permit the use of GMOs)–or give golden syrup a try.  I’ll be testing some of my candies with golden syrup this fall and updating the recipes so stay tuned!

Pumpkin Ice Cream in dish

How to Serve

This ice cream makes a delicious dessert or snack.  And there are so many ways you can serve it!

The easiest is simply to scoop it into a parfait dish and enjoy.  Perhaps top with a sprig of mint.  Or some whipped cream and crushed nuts or graham crumbs.  Just. Plain. Yum.

Of course your kids will probably want this in a cone.  Can’t beat that either!

Pumpkin Ice Cream Cone Outdoors

Now since we had just come back from England with some lovely (chocolate topped) digestive biscuits, it wasn’t long before I’d used those to make an ice cream sandwich.  pumpkin ice cream sandwich

And finally, I think this would be lovely scooped into a graham cracker crust for an ice cream pie.  Take a look at my Coffee Fudge Ice Cream Pie for inspiration, though I’d probably just top the pumpkin ice cream pie with a little whipped cream.


If you’d really like to get serious about homemade ice cream, I’d recommend her book.  It’s filled with delicious recipes for ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurt and more info on the theory than I give here.

Still on the fence?  Then perhaps take a look at my (yummy) experience with Jeni’s Dark Chocolate Ice Cream.


From a food safety perspective you should be able to keep this frozen for months, though at some point the quality will suffer.  I’ve keep it in the freezer up to a week without crystallization problems–then my willpower gave out!  I should note that if you do a lot of extended in and outs from the freezer, you will see ice crystals develop.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Tips & FAQs

Can I use cooked fresh pumpkin?  Fresh pumpkin has a significantly higher water content, so I’ve been hesitant to try it.  Altering the water ratio is one of the things that can cause iciness in the final product.

If you do try it, be sure to drain the puree at least overnight before using and comment back to let me know how it goes. 

And Happy National Cookbook Month!

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Creamy and flavorful, Pumpkin Ice Cream is a tasty fall dessert of snack with a little extra nutrition thrown in!
Author: Inger
5 from 1 vote
Course Desserts & Snacks
Cuisine American
Servings 6


Cornstarch slurry

  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup milk


  • 2 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2-4 Tablespoons dark rum optional

Pumpkin Mixture

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup or golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg optional

Ice cream base

  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoons light corn syrup or golden syrup


  • In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and 1/4 cup milk to prepare cornstarch slurry. In a large bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth. Set both bowls aside.
  • Prepare Pumpkin Mixture. Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, corn syrup & spices in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring periodically, until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble, then remove from heat.
  • Prepare Ice Cream Base. Combine skim milk, salt, cream sugar and corn syrup in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes. (Watch carefully so it doesn't boil over.)
  • Remove ice cream base from heat, stir in cornstarch slurry and pumpkin puree then return to heat, cooking for another minute or two until thickened.
  • Gradually add a little of the warm mixture to the softened cream cheese, whisking until you have a smooth mixture that can be combined with the remaining base without lumping. Mix in rum if using.
  • Chill until cool. (I usually chill an hour or two in the freezer, stirring periodically. Cooling in a zip loc bag in ice water or in the refrigerator are also options). Freeze according to your machine’s directions.
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally posted  Oct 2, 2016

17 thoughts on “Pumpkin Ice Cream, Jeni Style

  1. Carrie

    I have used Jeni’s base before. Why skim milk? I have a gallon of whole milk. Can I use that instead? I assume it will just be a richer ice cream, no? Please advise.

    1. Inger Post author

      The whole milk should be fine. While it shouldn’t be a problem using whole milk vs skim here, interestingly, you actually can use too much fat in a homemade ice cream. If you used cream instead of the skim milk it would likely take on a greasy feel instead of just seeming richer. And yes, I learned this the hard way 🙂 !

  2. Jolene

    Definitely need to check out that book, we love homemade ice cream! The ice cream sandwiches look amazing!

  3. cheri

    Oh yum, rum and pumpkin, I bet this tastes amazing. I love the idea of controlling what ingredients are in my foods too, take care!

    1. Inger Post author

      We liked the rum in the pumpkin so much I was wondering if I should try creme de cacao in the chocolate. Or maybe brandied apple cinnamon???

  4. Juliana

    This pumpkin ice cream looks delicious…creamy and rich…I will definitely give this a try…perfect for the season Inger…thanks for sharing the recipe!
    Hope you are having a great week 🙂

    1. Inger Post author

      Thanks Juliana. I just made a third batch for when my daughter comes home for fall break! Hope you are having a great week too!

  5. grace

    keep on churning out the recipes from that book! while i don’t usually go for pumpkin-y things, the texture of this looks irresistible!

    1. Inger Post author

      The texture is just what Jeni has figured out! Removed my last barrier to lots of homemade ice cream (for better or for worse 😉 )

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